The Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas convened September 26-27 in Dallas and approved numerous recommendations including the 2017 proposed budget of $36.638 million.
Gerald Caldwell, chair of the Finance Committee, and Jill Larsen, Texas Baptists’ CFO, presented the estimated $29.6 million in Cooperative Program giving and $4.4 million in investment income to the board. The estimate is based on a predicted $1.4 million reduction in Cooperative Program giving and a slight decrease in investments due to a drop in oil prices. The proposed budget also included $1.3 million to be allocated to Cooperative Program Texas Worldwide Missions Initiatives and Partnerships.
Three additional recommendations brought before the board will require approval by messengers to the Annual Meeting November 13-15 in Waco. Presented by Donna Burney, chair of the Institutional Relations Committee, the recommendations included the termination of Hendrick Medical Development Corporation, and amendments to the certificates of formation and bylaws for Baptist Foundation of Texas (High Ground Advisors) and Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio. The change in relationship with both Baptist Foundation of Texas and Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio will allow the organizations to go from single member to no member, which is recommended by nonprofit best practices.
In addition to the budget and recommendations, outgoing WMU of Texas Executive Director Sandy Wisdom-Martin was recognized for her years of faithful service. She has been elected as Executive Director of National WMU and will begin her new position in October. “You have been a blessing to Texas Baptists,” said David Hardage, executive director. “The blessing you’ve been to us, you will be to all Baptists across the world. We love you, we thank you!”
In his final address to the board as Convention President, René Maciel said, “God’s faithfulness has been revealed through the work of Texas Baptists. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see the work and the wonderful things God is doing through Texas Baptists life.”
On Monday evening, Dr. Hardage addressed the board and highlighted upcoming events and partnerships. During the Annual Meeting, church leaders will have the opportunity to attend a workshop on the new Texas Baptists Missionary Adoption Program (MAP) with Brazil which will allow churches to support indigenous missionaries in the Amazon. Additional plans are in place to expand the reach to sponsor missionaries in Lebanon working with Syrian refugees. He also outlined a plan to merge Texas Baptist Men and Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery services together to fully serve communities from immediate needs after a disaster to long-term recovery projects.
Other business included:
- Re-election of David Russell as Chairman of the Board and Dennis Young as Vice-Chairman
- Revisions of four policies, all of which were unanimously approved by the Executive Board including:
- Policy 428 to create a Music and Worship Council and align duties of all three Councils under the Great Commission Committee
- Policy 603 for the Institutional Review and Relationship Process, allowing the Audit Committee to be removed from an annual visit to institutions in addition to other required observations.
- Policy 701 - Business and Financial Plan, continuing the policy that institutions cannot directly solicit funds from churches but removing the policing action required by the policy.
- Policy 730 - Travel Expense Policy to reimburse mileage expenses for volunteers to one-half of the IRS rate and allow the volunteer greater discretion over whether to drive or fly.
- Appropriation of investment income to be used to fund church starts, campus missionary interns, events at seminary campuses, engagement of BSM Directors in the work of BGCT, Counseling Services, the Cooperative Program, and a Houston-area missionary project.
- Demolition of the old Baptist University of the Americas buildings in San Antonio.
- Funding proceeds from Baylor University for all four years of the Annual Meeting be added to be added to quasi-endowment with the income being used to support BGCT ministries. After healthy discussion on several other uses for the funds, the board approved to reinvest.
- Vacancies were filled on multiple councils and committees. Click here to view a complete list.